Picking up where Steve left off, the next few posts will cover our time in the next of the ‘Stans we visited. After we crossed the border from Uzbekistan, we headed to the capital city of Tajikistan, Dushanbe, where we had a quick one-night stop to prepare for our upcoming road trip. For this section of the trip, we had booked a nine-day Jeep tour following the world-famous Pamir Highway, a high-altitude dirt track through the Pamir Mountains. The route is part of the old Silk Road and was supposed to be extremely scenic and remote. This section of Tajikistan follows the country’s southern border with Afghanistan, which can be seen for most of the trip separated only by the Pamir River.
Dushanbe wasn’t much to write home (or a blog post) about. We had a nice dinner, loaded up on snacks for the road trip, and had an early night.
The next morning, we got picked up by our driver, a young Tajik guy from the Pamir region named Orzu. He would be our driver and guide for the next nine days until we reached the Kyrgyzstan border. After loading up the car with our luggage, snacks, and water, we headed out of the city and settled in for the ride.
That day we had a 6.5-hour drive before arriving at our first stop – the scenic village of Kalai Khum. A few hours into the trip, we reached the Pamir River and we started driving alongside the river with Afghanistan on our right side.
With five people and all our gear packed into the 4×4, it was tight quarters. We settled into a rhythm of rotating seats and who got to pick the music or podcasts. Between Steve’s Canadian country playlist, Ashraf’s Rewatchables movie podcast, and Orzu’s traditional Tajik music, we had a good variety to keep us entertained while we took in all the views.
When we reached Kalai Khum, we had a brief rest before heading to some nearby ruins.
Once the sun had set, we headed back to town and finally it was time for dinner. Kalai Khum is located on the Panj River and many homes have decks that hang over the gushing river below. It was a great spot to eat at night with all the decks lit up.
We went for a walk in the village after dinner and came across a lively dance happening in the main square.
The next day we headed off early to make our way further into the Pamir Mountains.